Tug operators are set to benefit from plans to construct new container terminals and LNG import facilities in India, Central America and Africa during the 2020s
Demand will be driven by investments from China and the UAE as they compete to build assets and logistics hubs in these growth markets.
China’s Belt and Road strategy is providing impetus for port investments from southern Asia to Africa and through the Red Sea corridor to southern Europe.
As we highlight in this issue, this is driving expansion of Chinese terminals and ports, resulting in a steady stream of newbuildings in that nation.
But it also sets Chinese port infrastructure investors in competition with established Middle East players such as DP World, which raised a US$2.3Bn investment war chest in November 2019 to build new terminals and logistics hubs.
DP World group chairman and chief executive Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem stressed investment would be focused on developing economies in Latin America, India and Africa, while expanding some existing terminals.
DP World has recently announced an investment of US$1.5Bn in new port and container terminals in Senegal, with an agreement signed in February 2020.
Other recent investment announcements have centred in Egypt, Namibia and Ecuador.
Recent growth in TEU volumes comes from developments in China, Indonesia and India.
LNG transport and import are also a growth trend this decade as nations transition from coal-based power to gas. A 15% year-on-year growth in LNG imports worldwide is expected this decade with LNG-to-power in Asia, Africa and the Americas driving investment in new floating regas and import facilities – each requiring escort tug fleets.
Tug owners need to follow these investments in detail to determine future growth markets.
SAAM Towage has taken the initiative in South and Central America through its US$194M buyout of Boskalis from a regional joint venture. In this issue we profile SAAM Towage with an exclusive interview with chief executive Felipe Rioja covering future growth plans.
South America has also caught the eye of PSA Marine as it acquired Tramarsa Flota in Peru, in February, while Svitzer and Boluda groups are expanding fleets in the region.
There is considerable investment going into ports in India and the next centre of investment will be in Africa.
Tug owners need to follow these trends and invest in newbuildings to prepare for the associated towage business this decade.